LONDON TRANSPORT Commissioner Bob Kiley's plans to upgrade the Underground could bring quicker improvements than the Government's part privatisation plan, Transport for London (TfL) claimed this week.
Kiley's plan to fund the £13bn upgrade with bonds backed by Underground revenue and private finance could come into force within months, said a TfL spokesman.
'Most London Underground staff know already what the most pressing problems are, so we would tackle them immediately, ' he said.
Priority work would be started on a contract by contract basis before the end of the year, while TfL carries out a detailed survey of London Underground's assets before producing a more robust long term works plan.
TfL added that consortia bidding for the government's public private partnership (PPP) contracts are not required to submit any works plans for six months after contracts are signed. They are not expected to mobilise their contractors until then.
This would mean work would not start until 2002 at the earliest. Bidders disputed this claim.
'Contract close would probably be in early autumn, and there is no reason why we couldn't start moving straight after that, ' said one.
Kiley's plans were published last week with a letter to London Transport chairman Malcolm Bates calling for a delay in naming preferred bidders for the government's PPP scheme, until after next month's judicial review of the project. London mayor Ken Livingstone is using the judicial review to challenge the legality of the PPP (NCE 8 March).
Kiley's plan for the Tube is available on TfL's website, www. tfl. org. uk